Jesuit Communications Australia has developed two new prayer and reflection resources to help us spend more time with the Jesus of the Gospels this Lent.
The first, Slow Lent, is a contemplative Lenten resource for use in Catholic schools and other ministries.
In the Sunday Gospels throughout Lent, we find Jesus in a number of environments: deserts, mountaintops, temples and towns. Each place plays an important part in Jesus’ journey. Slow Lent invites us to spend some contemplative time with Jesus in each of these places, not just on Sunday but for an entire week.
Starting from each Sunday’s Gospel, Slow Lent will take us more deeply into each Gospel story, bringing Jesus’ experiences to life, and helping us reflect on what they might be saying to us today. The idea is to take Lent slowly and reflectively – to commit ourselves to spending time each day with Jesus.
The reflections are designed for schools or other ministries to use in their morning staff briefing or prayer session at the beginning of the week. The daily reflection points and video links can then be provided to staff through the week, encouraging them to spend time in contemplation each day on the journey to Easter.
Accompanying each reflection is a “Slow TV” video clip. Each video takes you into a space that is similar to that which Jesus experienced in the Gospel story. The videos are a tool to help clear people’s minds from their daily tasks so they may contemplate the story more deeply.
Slow Lent is available online at pray.com.au, with an accompanying PDF booklet that can be downloaded here. There is also an option to subscribe to receive Slow Lent resources as a daily email from February 19 to April 1.
The second prayer resource is Passion Week. Daily reflections with the Light of Christ as the central theme will be offered from Palm Sunday to the Easter Vigil. In these reflections, Michael McGirr, a regular contributor to Madonna, a magazine of spiritual reading for lay people published by the Australian Jesuits, uses some of the works of Italian painter Caravaggio (1571-1610) to illustrate how Jesus brings light to even the darkest corners of our lives.
Caravaggio is known for his dramatic use of lighting and realistic observation of the human state. In his various paintings of the capture, trial and torture of Jesus, as well as the crucifixion aftermath, Jesus is often bathed in light – a figure of peace, calm and hope among his darkly-rendered tormentors.
Caravaggio’s paintings are a source of inspiration and express the challenge of Holy Week to let the suffering of Jesus bring light to every corner of our lives.
The Holy Week resource will be available in the Autumn edition of Madonna Magazine and online at pray.com.au. [Pray.com.au]